Specific combinations of presenilins and Aph1s affect the substrate specificity and activity of γ-secretase

Yoji Yonemura, Eugene Futai, Sosuke Yagishita, Christoph Kaether, Shoichi Ishiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The γ-secretase complex comprises presenilin (PS), nicastrin (NCT), anterior pharynx-defective 1 (Aph1), and presenilin enhancer 2 (Pen2). PS has two homologues, PS1 and PS2. Aph1 has two isoforms, Aph1a and Aph1b, with the former existing as two splice variants Aph1aL and Aph1aS. Each complex consists of one subunit each, resulting in six different γ-secretases. To better understand the functional differences among the γ-secretases, we reconstituted them using a yeast system and compared Notch1-cleavage and amyloid precursor protein (APP)-cleavage activities. Intriguingly, PS2/Aph1b had a clear substrate specificity: APP-Gal4, but not Notch-Gal4, was cleaved. In HEK cell lines expressing defined γ-secretase subunits, we showed that PS1/Aph1b, PS2/Aph1aL, PS2/Aph1aS and PS2/Aph1b γ-secretase produced amyloid β peptide (Aβ) with a higher Aβ42+Aβ43-to-Aβ40 (Aβ42(43)/Aβ40) ratio than the other γ-secretases. In addition, PS2/Aph1aS γ-secretase produced less Notch intracellular domain (NICD) than did the other 5 γ-secretases. Considering that the Aβ42(43)/Aβ40 ratio is relevant in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), and that inhibition of Notch cleavage causes severe side effect, these results suggest that the PS2/Aph1aS γ-secretase complex is a potential therapeutic target in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1751-1757
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 30


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Notch
  • γ-secretase


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